A new model of compact, environmentally enhanced urban design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) for the rapid development of satellite cities along Chinese high speed rail corridors has won an international design competition with its Beijing Bohai Innovation City master plan. The winning SOM plan leverages the economic and lifestyle assets of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor by centering the new environmentally friendly district along the high-speed-rail line linking the national capital to the port city of Tianjin. The city expansion will host 17.6 million square meters of mixed-use development, with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries in the dynamically growing Bohai Rim, a region that already accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP.
With half the 1,473-hectare site allocated to open space and nature, Beijing Bohai Innovation City builds upon SOM’s more than seven years of sustainable, high-performance city design throughout the region – from its award-winning green Beijing CBD expansion master plan to numerous projects in Tianjin, including the rapidly rising Yujiapu Financial District.
“Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development at an unprecedented scale,” said project chief designer Thomas Hussey of SOM’s Chicago urban planning studio. “The new district will leverage the high-speed rail to bridge two major metropolitan areas and create a sustainable urban environment that concentrates walkable, compact densities around transit stations, while still preserving existing agriculture and green space.”
The client commented on the winning design scheme in a written statement, “SOM has designed a human and family-oriented mixed-use urban community within an environmentally friendly framework to attract talented people and forward-thinking Chinese and international firms that want to position themselves in the same way.”
In addition to setting specific and aggressive goals for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency, the winning design scheme builds upon landscape architecture firm Turenscape’s proposed central wetland park by calling for functional environmental systems to filter and clean storm water before returning it to adjoining rivers.
The master plan is designed with a central business district organized around a high speed train station and five distinct neighborhoods offering diverse housing, education, shopping and work destinations. It modifies the street grid to incorporate existing road alignments while enhancing connectivity to the high speed rail station and creating special view corridors to landmark developments.
IMAGES & TEXT: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)